Song Review: AB6IX – Sugarcoat

AB6IX - SugarcoatAB6IX have had a rough go of it, initially emerging as a heavily-hyped, post-Wanna One group who seemed destined for instant a-list stardom. Since then, their musical output and chart positions have varied, without a signature sound taking hold. Member Daehwi has found great success as a producer, most recently competing in KBS’s Listen Up program (which spawned this Daehwi-produced highlight). As expected, he has headlining composition credits on new single Sugarcoat.

Sugarcoat continues the bright, retro sound of last year’s Cherry but dampens the energy just a bit. You wouldn’t know this from its opening verse, which kicks off with plenty of groove. I love the blend of percussion and synths. They buoy a so-so melody and highlight AB6IX’s charms. However, the track becomes less dynamic as it goes on. Rather than bloom into an exciting centerpiece, Sugarcoat slows and softens for its chorus. I’m not usually a fan of this approach, and it feels like a missed opportunity here. The hook is fine on its own, but doesn’t really go anywhere. Bookended by brisk verses, it comes across as out of place.

I had similar thoughts on the group’s Savior from earlier this year. These songs have the best of intentions, but can’t carry that goodwill throughout their entire running time. I have no doubt Sugarcoat will grow stronger with time, but K-pop’s retro offerings are a dime a dozen this year and it takes something quite special to stand out. This track is a fine addition to AB6IX’s varied discography. It just doesn’t reveal anything new or exciting about their musical brand.

Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

14 thoughts on “Song Review: AB6IX – Sugarcoat

  1. I am the contrarian again. To me, All hail the song picker, as Ab6ix finally has a hot one with a lot of contemporary jazz goodies buried in this instrumental. From a production standpoint, the song undersells itself. Think of what SM would do with a track like this, the high polish it would be at. The Ab6ix guys vocally keep up with the groove as well as they are asked to. The dance choreo itself doesn’t quite keep up – qv the showcase with the choreo – the dance doesn’t match the energy of the song.

    But I am way overthinking it, as I already bought it from itunes.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yass, thank you.
        For me, I hear in this Ab6ix song the potential for some sort of EXO “Lucky One” and the old SM Station song “Coffee Break” combo flavor.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m an infrequent commentor despite reading this blog daily because your comments often corroborate my thoughts on songs when they contrast with Nick’s. Today seems to be no different, as I find this to be the most interesting of the three songs released and agree with your comments on Seulgi’s and Treasure’s as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfectly fine and serviceable. Nothing special, just another song maintaining that same vaguely retro sound we’ve got used to. If the arrangement didn’t pull itself back during the chorus, it wouldn’t feel so mediocre and underwhelming. I’d give it a 7.5 at best.


  3. OK song, I feel like they released this song before or they’re using a b-side from a previous album.
    Feels like a song released just because time passed and is time to put something out (I’ve been feeling like this with almost all their comebacks)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t help comparing this to Astro’s Candy Sugar Pop and feel like it’s lacking. As others have said, the slowed down chorus really kills the momentum. It sounds like department store music? I wish I could find something by them to like aside from Breathe because I think Lee Daehwi is so talented. I loved Rose, Scent, Kiss and kind of wish he would just go solo…


  5. I like the verses but the chorus doesn’t do anything for me (in fact I think it makes a perfectly fine song worse…). I might be harsh on this because I got into AB6IX in early 2021 and fell in love with most of their discography, but each new album has only gotten worse in quality. The rest of the album is really forgettable and skippable–I like Weightless but the chorus feels too jerky and restrained compared to those simple but great guitar chords. I want them to make better music!!! I want to see them do better and escape nugudom but with these releases I don’t think they will.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like this a lot. It has that jazz/funk vibe in it that I’m hearing in the Japanese dance-pop I like such Ayumu Imazu, Iri, Da-Ice’s latest etc.

    But i hope they also release Weightless as a single. It has a wonderful snap to it.


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